Iowa City police prepare to deal with heavier workload - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City police prepare to deal with heavier workload

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Iowa City police have been busy lately, dealing with violence on the city's southeast side.

They dealt with more trouble in a two-hour stretch early Thursday morning, including a robbery, an armed robbery, and an assault, at locations across the city. With police resources already stretched thin, and University of Iowa students returning soon, police have their work cut out for them. They're hoping a continued partnership with University of Iowa police will help them deal with the violence both in downtown and the southeast side.

That's where Officer Tom Hartshorn patrols. It's a neighborhood that's struggled with large fights and gunfire in the past several weeks. "We have a set number of minimum officers we like to have on the street, and those have been increased recently," said Hartshorn. "The city will pay overtime if they have to, to get to that number, and that number has been increased just in the past few weeks."

The department hopes that increasing its presence there will mean less violence. Hartshorn says the groups of juveniles causing the problems will likely head back to school in the coming days. "Hopefully that'll help slow some things down."

But soon, UI students will return, which police say usually leads to a surge in fights and assaults around downtown bars. Hartshorn says that's where members of the community can make a difference. "A lot of times the citizens don't come forward, and nobody sees these assaults happen."

Another thing police will be keeping their eyes on, is where the crowd from the violence-prone Los Cocos bar will go, now that it's permanently closed. "I don't know if they'll go downtown and start hanging out in the bars there. It's yet to be seen."

Sergeant Troy Kelsay says there has been some interest in placing cameras at Iowa City's "trouble spots," but he's not sure when or if that will ever happen.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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